Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, has delivered the first-ever experimental Flexible Distributed Array Radar, or FlexDAR, to the Office of Naval Research (ONR). Built in partnership with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, FlexDAR combines digital beam forming, network coordination and precise time synchronization to perform multiple missions, such as surveillance, communications and electronic warfare, simultaneously with a single array. NRL developed FlexDAR’s back-end subsystems, which were integrated with Raytheon Missiles & Defense’s front-end subsystems at the company’s Rhode Island facility.
“This was a highly successful collaboration between the Navy’s technology arm and a trusted industry partner,” said Dr. Bradley Binder, program officer at ONR. “The partnership between ONR, NRL and Raytheon Missiles & Defense on FlexDAR has resulted in the delivery of a digital testbed that will pioneer next-generation capabilities for surface-, sea- and air-based platforms.”
“FlexDAR is a new apex in phased array radar system development,” said Colin Whelan, vice president of Advanced Technology at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “It will improve military communications and deliver on our vision for a multi-mission radar. There really is nothing else like it on the planet.”
Further integration and testing occurred at the NRL’s Chesapeake Bay Detachment in Maryland, before delivering FlexDAR to ONR at their NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. FlexDAR is being developed under ONR’s Electromagnetic Maneuver Warfare Command and Control (EMC2) program to demonstrate the benefits of migrating digital technologies closer to a sensor’s front end. It comprises two experimental phased-array radars equipped with digital beam forming, communications and network-linked, distributed radar tracking. FlexDAR’s aperture is capable of using a very large portion of its operating band at once, and it can expand to include future software upgrades.